I was almost taken by Random House, and it was a bright moment for me, but like I said “almost.”
There are things why a self published author chose to be what they are. Mine is many things. One could argue (meaning no one will argue because no one cares, yet) that I was tired on sending out query letters that the literary agents would only reject by the use of very informal email sent by a robot. But I won’t just explain my side here, I’m going to put my empathy helmet and direct it to the literary agents and all who comes after them. First of all what do literary agents do? They find a good book, a well written book, a book with an outstanding voice. Now if the literary agent is based on New York or just flat out famous in the world of publishing, the submission of letters to them per day are always by a digital-ton. Everybody uses email in this generation, it’s easy and direct. Now do agents have the time to read these? Here is where their assistants come in. They would sort out the bad and the good, and they are demanded to do this in a short time.
What if my story did make it the shortlist? What then? Would it be taken by this famous agent? The answer is less likely. Agents (some agents… okay most agents in my opinion) follow the trends; it’s like the recent financial crisis of Europe, the investors went to Asia and now when the market is already stabilizing in Europe that same investors are returning to where they started. Let’s be honest, people love money and only a few do it because they heart told them to do it. Agents are like that, few of them believe in a book entirely, the more experienced agents follow the trends because if you think like them you would know. I bet you that there is a time where they believe in something, in a book and an author; they spent their time finding a good editor, after that they would send the final manuscript to the big publishers, none would accept, but in the end the finished manuscript found its way home to a sincere publisher that would love to print it. And then the publisher gave up gazillions of money in advertising for months, but when the book hit the shelves, only a few bought it and never really reached its value—and what values is that you ask? It’s the worth of it to agent, the editor, the money spent by the publisher, and most of all, the author.
The author would take the entire dump with all of its nasty bits because he wrote a book, a book where he gave his time and sweat and blood and all the bodily fluids he could muster. He will be depressed in years, but he will write, yes he will unless that author is not really a writer, maybe he’s just wearing a mask and thought that when one writes a book, the world would brand him as genius—we don’t know.
Seriously I love the agents, I love to have one, but I also know that they’re humans, they need money to eat and to live and we have to admit that they won’t have one if they just take every poorly-everything book all the time. They are forced to become coldhearted, they are forced to close the blinds when a pauper knocking on their window because this, everything of this doesn’t run in dreams but money where business triumphs above all. I know that every literary agent is a good, kind person and I love to meet them, but not as a writer.
This, the trends where the money revolves are the reason why there a sudden boom of dystopian books and everything paranormal, and everything has a romance in them. All who is the first is the lucky ones, those who were born earlier where finding a good agent and a publishing house was easy. What I’m saying is the pre-internet era where everything is done by hand. There are fewer writers back then; today we are by millions if not billions. Ninety percent of us will give up and go on with our lives, but the ten percent, well, those are the writers who are willing to wait. They will find time in every pieces of the day to type that goddamn words, to tell a story no one really cares about. I have no idea if they will succeed but I have an idea that they will have fun if only they take their mind away from publication.
The thing is, writers should hone their craft and be isolated and shout SCREW YOU to all their publication dreams. If they have been found fit in all the elements of writing, then they should not take the publication cut-throat industry seriously. One should always keep writing seriously even if only one reader loves the book.